Ingredion lowers guidance as headwinds keep blowing

by Jeff Gelski
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. – Ingredion, Inc. lowered its earnings-per-share guidance for 2013 after reporting decreases in income and sales in the third quarter.

Net income of $88.3 million, equal to $1.12 per share on the common stock, in the third quarter compared with $113.9 million, or $1.47 per share, in the previous year’s third quarter. Net sales in the third quarter dipped to $1,611.7 million from $1,679 million as volume declines and currency devaluations more than offset price/mix improvements.

Westchester-based Ingredion now expects 2013 e.p.s. in a range of $5 to $5.15 per share compared with prior guidance of $5.10 to $5.40 per share. In 2012 the company had adjusted e.p.s. of $5.57 per share and reported e.p.s. of $5.47 per share.

“This was a disappointing quarter as many of the headwinds we faced in the second quarter persisted and in some cases accelerated,” said Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer, when Ingredion gave financial results Oct. 30. “These challenges included volume softness, currency headwinds and higher costs. Notably, two-thirds of the decline in operating income in the quarter was a result of the challenges in South America, particularly Argentina. Conditions remain very challenging in Argentina as political and economic actions have significantly increased costs while our ability to price through higher costs continues to be constrained.

“In the face of economic challenges, volume softness and the impact of last summer’s drought in the U.S., our total business has held up well, and, looking longer term, our early outlook for 2014 remains positive as we expect relief on raw material prices, improved volume performance, and sales and operating income from key capital investments.”

On the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Ingredion were trading at $64.21 per share on the morning of Oct. 30 after closing at $69.89 per share on Oct. 29.

Drivers of the decrease in third-quarter e.p.s. were margin (27c), lower volumes (8c) and foreign currency devaluation (5c). The third quarter of 2012 included restructuring/impairment charges, which had a negative impact of 7c per share.

Third-quarter operating income of $137 was down 19% primarily due to a $28 million decline in operating income in South America. In South America, third-quarter operating income fell to $19 million from $28 million. Third-quarter net sales in South America dropped 11% to $323 million from $363 million largely due to currency devaluations in Brazil, which had a $21 million impact, and Argentina, which had a $16 million impact.

In North America, third-quarter operating income decreased to $97 million from $103 million. Third-quarter net sales in North America dipped 3% to $949 million from $977 million. Negative volume across end markets and slight currency headwinds more than offset positive price/mix.

In Asia Pacific in the third quarter, operating income decreased to $24 million from $29 million and net sales fell 5% to $205 million from $215 million. In Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) in the third quarter, operating income fell to $17 million from $19 million while net sales increased 9% to $135 million from $124 million.

Through the year’s first nine months, Ingredion had net income of $297.1 million, or $3.77 per share, which compared with $320.3 million, or $4.13 per share, in the same time period of the previous year. Nine-month net sales of $4,829 million were down slightly from $4,888.2 million in the same time period of the previous year.
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